The park’s network of trails allows people to access different areas of the park comfortably and safely. However, over the years many small footpaths and redundant trails have developed and existing trails have widened. These trends are compounded by an overall increase in trail use and high impact activities such as mountain-biking and off-trail dog traffic. The proliferation and spread of trails leads to further fragmentation of natural areas, trampling of native vegetation and increased opportunities for invasive plant species, as well as soil compaction and erosion. Also, the park’s habitat potential is diminished when people and pets get closer to bird nests, animal dens and foraging areas.
To address these concerns, the City plans to re-establish a designated nature trail system that can sustain appropriate uses with minimal disturbance to the natural environment. A well-designed trail system avoids sensitive terrain such as erodable slopes, wetlands and areas where rare plant species are found. If surfacing materials are used, they should not spread onto adjacent vegetation. Interpretive signage can play an important role in encouraging park users to stay on the trails and be respectful of the natural environment. Natural obstacles such as shrubs or fallen trees can also help keep traffic on the trail.
Source: High Park "Jewel" brochure, rev. 2008